Jill Dando (Jill Wendy Dando)

Jill Dando

Jill Dando was born at Ashcombe House Maternity Home in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. She was the daughter of Jack Dando (February 1918 – February 2009), who died in Weston-super-Mare on his 91st birthday, and Winifred Mary Jean Dando (August 1928 – January 1986), who died of leukaemia aged 58. Her only sibling, brother Nigel (born 1952), works as a journalist for BBC Radio Bristol, having previously worked as a journalist in local newspapers since the 1970s. Dando was raised as a Baptist. When she was three years old, it was discovered that she had a hole in her heart and a blocked pulmonary artery. She had heart surgery on 12 January 1965. She was educated at Worle Infant School, Greenwood Junior School, Worle Comprehensive School, and Broadoak Sixth Form Centre, where she was head girl, and passed two A levels. She studied journalism at the South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education in Cardiff. Jill Dando was a member of Weston-super-Mare Amateur Dramatic Society and Exeter Little Theatre Company, with whom she appeared in plays at the Barnfield Theatre. She was a volunteer at Sunshine Hospital Radio in Weston-super-Mare in 1979. Dando’s first job was as a trainee reporter for the local weekly newspaper, the Weston Mercury, where her father and brother worked. After five years as a print journalist, she started to work for the BBC becoming a newsreader for BBC Radio Devon in 1985. That year, she transferred to BBC South West, where she presented a regional news magazine programme, Spotlight South West. In 1987, she worked for TSW, then worked for BBC Spotlight in Plymouth. In early 1988, Dando moved from regional to national television in London to present BBC television news, specifically the short on-the-hour bulletins that aired on both BBC1 and BBC2 from 1986 until the mid-1990s.

Jill Dando presented the BBC television programmes Breakfast Time, Breakfast News, the BBC One O’Clock News, the Six O’Clock News, the travel programme Holiday, the crime appeal series Crimewatch (from 1995 until her death) and occasionally Songs of Praise. In 1994 she moved to Fulham. On 25 April 1999, Dando presented the first episode of The Antiques Inspectors. She was scheduled to present the Six O’Clock News on the evening of the following day. She was featured on the cover of that week’s Radio Times magazine (for 24 to 30 April). At the time of her death, she was among those with the highest profile of the BBC’s on-screen staff, and had been the 1997 BBC Personality of the Year. Crimewatch reconstructed her murder in an attempt to aid the police in the search for her killer. After Barry George (see below) was charged with the murder but acquitted, Crimewatch made no further appeals for information concerning the case. On the morning of 26 April 1999, 37-year-old Dando left the Chiswick home of her fiancé, Alan Farthing. She returned alone, by car, to the house she owned in Fulham. She had lived in the house, but by April 1999 was in the process of selling it and did not visit it frequently. As Dando reached her front door at about 11:32, she was shot once in the head. Her body was discovered about 14 minutes later by neighbour Helen Doble. Police were called at 11:47. Jill Dando was taken to the nearby Charing Cross Hospital where she was declared dead on arrival at 13:03 BST. Forensic study indicated that Dando had been shot by a bullet from a 9 mm calibre automatic pistol, with the gun pressed against her head at the moment of the shot. Richard Hughes, her next door neighbour, heard a surprised cry from Dando “like someone greeting a friend” but heard no gunshot. Hughes looked out of his front window and, while not realising what had happened, made the only certain sighting of the killer—a six-foot-tall (183 cm) white man aged around 40, walking away from Dando’s house.

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Born

  • November, 09, 1961
  • United Kingdom
  • Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England

Died

  • April, 26, 1999
  • United Kingdom
  • Fulham, London, England

Cause of Death

  • gunshot wounds

Cemetery

  • Ebdon Road Cemetery
  • Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England
  • United Kingdom

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